Northeast Multnomah Street and Northeast 9th Avenue
Portland, Oregon

Portland -and Oregon's- first shopping mall took over 35 years to get from conception to reality. Envisioned in the 1920s by Ralph B. Lloyd, a Los Angeles oil company executive and real estate entrepreneur, LLOYD CENTER was eventually built on a 50 acre tract, located 1 mile northeast of Portland's downtown area. Ground was broken in April 1958.

The original structure, designed by Seattle's John Graham, Junior, encompassed 1,200,000 leasable square feet. It was one of the largest shopping centers in the United States at the time of its official dedication, which was held August 1, 1960. Officiating at the event were Oregon Governor Mark Hatfield (R) and Terry Schrunk, Mayor of Portland.

The 100 million dollar LLOYD CENTER was configured with 3 levels. The first was predominantly a parking deck, which included ground floors for the major stores. The Lloyd Center Ice Chalet was also situated on the first level. It opened, in September 1960, as the second shopping mall ice skating facility in the nation (the first was dedicated, at Long Island, New York's ROOSEVELT FIELD CENTER, in 1958).

The second level of the retail hub was devoted entirely to retail and restaurants. The third housed leased office spaces. Portland-based Meier & Frank occupied a 4-level (314,000 square foot) store at the center of the center. Seattle-based Best's leased a 2-level (52,800 square foot) store at the end of the West Mall, which was the chain's first branch. Nordstrom's Shoes was located across the concourse.

There were seventy-six other retail tenants. These included Lerner Shops, Stevens & Son Jewelers, Van Duyns Candies, Mr. C's Hippopotamus Restaurant, a 2-level (97,300 square foot) J.C. Penney and 2-level (62,700 square foot) F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10. Outparcel stores included Pay 'N Save Drug, a Safeway supermarket and 2-level (91,000 square foot) J. J. Newberry 5 & 10.

Early shopping malls in the vicinity of LLOYD CENTER were built on a smaller scale, hence, they did not provide any measurable degree of competition. The first, EASTPORT PLAZA {4.4 miles southeast, in Portland} was dedicated in late 1960. The first stores in MALL 205 {4.3 miles southeast, also in Portland} opened in 1970.

The first formidable rival, VANCOUVER MALL {9.1 miles northeast, in Vancouver, Washington} came along in 1977. This was followed by CLACKAMAS TOWN CENTER {7.4 miles southeast, in Clackamas} in 1981. PIONEER PLACE {in Downtown Portland} was dedicated in 1990.

Over the years, LLOYD CENTER has had an ever-changing line-up of tenants. Stores have come, gone, come back, closed and been replaced in such a dizzying pace that it is hard to keep up with all of the changes. We hope to, at least, cover the most important ones in this write up.  

In 1963, Nordstrom had acquired Best's Apparel. In 1967, they rebranded the existing Best's and Nordstrom's Shoes stores, at the end of the West Mall, as a singular Nordstrom Best location. The name was shortened to Nordstrom in 1973. At this time, J.C. Penney, at the far end of the East Mall, was enlarged into a 3-level (144,000 square foot) store.

Portland-based Lipman & Wolfe (a.k.a. Lipmans) had added a 2-level (50,000 square foot) store to the West Mall, which opened in October 1972. The history of this Lipmans and its trajectory at LLOYD CENTER is perplexing. Hopefully, the story depicted here is not terribly inaccurate.

It can be established that the LLOYD CENTER Lipmans was rebranded by Seattle-based Frederick & Nelson on April 2, 1979. This store, at the end of the West Mall, was re-rebranded, as a Lipmans, in mid-1987. This operation only lasted a few months. In August of the same year, stores in the Lipmans chain were rebranded by Spokane-based The Crescent.

Meanwhile, LLOYD CENTER became rail-transit-accessible. Revenue service commenced, on the 15 route mile Metropolitan Area Express light rail line, September 5, 1986. A "MAX" station was located 1 block south of the mall, at Northeast 11th Avenue and Holladay Street.

LLOYD CENTER had been acquired by Indiana's Melvin Simon & Associates (today's Simon Property Group) in May 1986. They announced a renovation of the property in October 1987. The cost of this project was estimated to be between 30 and 40 million dollars. Work got underway in early 1988.

Courts and concourses were enclosed with vaulted glass ceilings and Meier & Frank was given a face lift. A new south side mall entrance was created and six escalators were installed throughout the complex.

Moreover, the ground floor parking deck was converted into a full level of store spaces. Two parking garages were added to the existing decks; one at the northwest corner of the mall, another at the southeast.

As the mall renovation was getting underway, Bellevue, Washington-based Lamonts bought stores in The Crescent chain. Apparently, the store at the far end of the West Mall closed and moved to a new location in the North Mall. It opened, as a 2-level (47,000 square foot) Lamonts, on March 25, 1988.

The old Lamonts building was acquired by Nordstrom. It was demolished and replaced with a 3-level (150,000 square foot) store. This new Nordstrom held its grand opening August 24, 1990.

The mall renovation continued with the installation of a Food Court on the third level of the North Mall. The renewed LLOYD CENTER held its grand re-opening August 21, 1991. The remodeling project, whose cost had been estimated at 40 million dollars in 1987, ended up with a 200 million dollar price tag.

As a culmination of the remodeling, a new mall multiplex was dedicated. The Act III Theatres Lloyd Mall 8 showed its first features December 20, 1991. Installed on the retail hub's third level, it joined a freestanding venue, the Act III Theatres Lloyd Center 10. This multiplex, built in the southeastern periphery of the mall, had opened in December 1986.

With the completion of its renovation and expansion in late 1991, LLOYD CENTER attained the status of largest enclosed shopping mall in the state; a title it had relinquished to Tigard's WASHINGTON SQUARE in 1974. In September 1998, LLOYD CENTER was sold to the Columbus, Ohio-based Glimcher Realty Trust.

The mall's merchandising musical chairs had continued unabated. Lamonts, in the North Mall, had been shuttered in January 1995. The space was divided between a (20,000 square foot) Ross Dress For Less and (27,000 square foot) Barnes & Noble. The latter welcomed its first shoppers in November 2001.

J.C. Penney had shuttered their LLOYD CENTER store in June 1998. Its space re-opened as a Sears in October 1999. Woolworth closed in July 1997, re-opening as a Marshalls in 1999. On September 9,  2006, Meier & Frank was "Macy-ated".

In March 2010, it was announced that the Glimcher Realty Trust, which had become financially strapped as a result of The Great Recession, was entering into a two-mall joint venture with the New York City-based Blackstone Group. Two shopping centers were involved in this arrangement; LLOYD CENTER and Tampa, Florida's WESTSHORE PLAZA.

In June 2013, Glimcher and Blackstone sold LLOYD CENTER to Dallas-based Cypress Equities Real Estate Investment Management. At this time, the mall encompassed 1,472,000 leasable square feet, one hundred seventy-eight stores and forty office spaces. One of these store spaces was soon vacant. Nordstrom welcomed its final shoppers on January 10, 2015.

This store closing transpired as the mall was being given a 50 million dollar renovation. The project got underway in the summer of 2014 and was completed in the spring of 2017. When construction dust settled, the Ice Chalet and Center Court had been reconfigured and mall concourses refurbished. Several stores had also been opened to adjacent parking areas via Streetscape storefronts.


preservenet.cornell.edu/publications/Longstreth Branch Store.doc
"Lloyd Center" article on Wikipedia
www.angelfire.com / "Meier & Frank -Lloyd Center- Portland, Oregon / Mark Bozanich
Malls Of America Blogspot
The Oregonian
The Bulliten